Reviewed by: Jamey Hughton
Michael Cory Davis
What's it about
Four astronauts who have been in a cryogenic sleep for forty years crash land on Earth and discover the surviving members of the human race have been enslaved by alien termites whoís taste for human flesh is second only to their taste for wood.
Is it good movie?
Bruce Campbell is, of course, a B-movie hero, but as the star in ALIEN APOCALYPSE he is helpless to overcome scripting, sets and effects that could be called hilariously amateurish at best. Campbell is under the direction of Josh Becker, a friend and co-collaborator dating all the way back to THE EVIL DEAD (he was the sound guy). This has apparently been a pet project Becker has been trying to get off the ground for twenty years. Something must have really appealed to him about the concept. I must have missed that something. I get that the movie is trying to be deliberately campy and silly, but apparently I should have downed another dozen beers before viewing in order to jive with the movieís unapologetic, completely over-the-top Sci-Fi Channel vibe.
Campbell doesnít really even have any good wisecracks to chew on here. He plays Dr. Ivan Hood, one of the astronauts wandering across a dusty terrain at the start of the movie, wearing spacesuits straight out of PLANET OF THE APES. After being put to work to help gather lumber to be sent back to the alien planet (where wood is highly valuable), the good doctor attempts to stir up a rebellion among the remaining humans to overcome their insect captors and rescue the rumored-to-be-alive President of the United States. Most of the humans are happy to remain slaves, however, for fear of having their heads devoured by the alien termites. Bruce also gets a babe in the form of Renee OíConnor (from XENA) as fellow astronaut Kelly, the two sharing zero chemistry and a painfully awkward love scene.
Having been knocked back to primitive status, the majority of the cast is forced to wear horribly fake looking caveman beards and wigs. Additionally, having been shot in Bulgaria, many foreign actors appear in smaller roles with their original dialogue looped over - which is unfortunate because itís badly done, and constantly distracting. The bugs, boringly rendered using a combination of cheesy puppets and CGI, are not exactly threatening. Itís obvious Becker was working on a next-to-nothing budget, and he did what he could, but ALIEN APOCALYPSE has a scope that makes every flimsy aspect of the production value utterly transparent.
I do admit to laughing out loud a few times. Not a shred of the movie is to be taken seriously, but I donít think thatís any proper excuse. Not even the usually game Campbell can do anything to enliven this silly mess.
Video / Audio
Video 1:77:1 Widescreen Presentation
Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1 or Dolby Surround 2.0
Audio Commentary with writer/director Josh Becker and Bruce Campbell Becker enthusiastically talks up his movie, and Bruce is as affectionate as ever and warmly in support of his old buddy. Campbell is certainly never one to skimp on details in a commentary, and this is no exception. The boyish camaraderie between the two almost made me start to enjoy the movie. Almost.
Behind the Scenes A barely two minute montage of aliens and various effects. Why bother?
Storyboard Gallery Amusingly 2-D storyboards for the first chunk of the film, if youíre interested. Did Sam Raimi draw these?
Thereís also a Bruce Campbell Bio (standard) and Also on DVD, with five trailers for other Anchor Bay releases.
Maybe youíll enjoy ALIEN APOCALYPSE. I know I regularly get a kick out of movies as stupid as this one, but total lack of a budget shouldnít mean an absence of charm and humor. Just pop in ARMY OF DARKNESS again, trust me.